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Hobbyist/Vendor/Knifemaker Discussion

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Dave Martell

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Recently we've made a lot of changes here at KKF to reflect the needs of our community's rapid growth. Some of these changes (like the creation of clear vendor/hobbyist rules) have been seen as beneficial for the control of the unchecked advertising that was taking place here. This has led to some new knifemakers and a new hobbyist coming on board officially and this is good. However we have some bad that has happened in that we lost a few members from the site as well as 5 or 6 hobbyists not officially coming on board. This is a loss of member contribution (to the community) as well as a loss to the members themselves (from a loss of sales).

It is clear to us that the new hobbyist vendor forum(s) are not working out as planned. Clearly this was a popular and well received idea while it was free but now that a fee is being imposed it is not being embraced.

We all want to welcome hobbyists & knifemakers to contribute here at KKF but we have to have guidelines in place so that it doesn't become another knife forum whore.

What I would like to do now is to address these issues in a dialog that hopefully brings forth even further changes to benefit the community. If you have a suggestion towards this end please speak up, we'd love to have your input.

Thanks,
Dave
 

PierreRodrigue

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The vendor fees are fine, I don't want to see every body and their dog hanging a shingle as a knife maker. The hobbiest thing is going to be an unfortunate situation. Some morrals are going to get in the way of the serious hobbiest. Some makers who don't want to pay ANY fees, will still be bitter. There will be some we lose we didn't want to lose, and some we keep, we want to lose :D. It will be impossible not to p!ss somebody off. To take sides on a case by case basis will reek of favoirtism and open rifts already healing. I admire the work of some who have choose to leave to the point of offering to pay his fee, his work was valuable. The governing body has mad a stand. If there is a way to make things better, I for one, welcome them. But right now, things seem smoother. So if we cant make things smoother, and protect the position of paying vendors, as is is fine.
 

Eamon Burke

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I dunno, the hobbyist fee is not huge. You can hardly purchase one knife for less than that around here.

Maybe charging a commission for sales would go over better? Like 10% of what gets sold goes to KKF? It's the same thing to me, but perhaps people would feel better about it. :dontknow:


It's only been a month and a half. Maybe give it time.
 

kalaeb

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Obviously I am biased, but I don’t consider myself a hobbyist, but I do re-handle western handles (passive marketing plug):oops: I think the term has been applied to a person who is trying to make money off it, like selling on ETSY. I am not doing re-handles to make money, I am just a person who after working a 75 hour week likes to work with wood to relieve stress.

I generally only make one handle every two months. (Took me almost 4 years to finish my boat.) The $475.00 fee was inordinate. Simply to be able to recoup the cost of the fee I would have to tack on $80.00 per handle, or increase my output. If I had to increase output and have deadlines; it would increases my stress, going against why I was doing it in the first place….to relieve stress.

I have zero problem donating a portion of the sale to KKF. But 80, or even 40 dollars is absurd.

As much as I would like to keep all the handles I have done, it does not make sense so I looked elsewhere to help keep my sanity. Thankfully there have been a few members who have allowed me to experiment on their knives, for that I am grateful.

I guess the bottom line is, I will continue to make handles because I love doing it and I want to get better at it…those handles have to be sold somewhere for me to continue.

Regarding posting, I truly miss hobbyist, woodworkers, collectors or anyone else being able to post pictures and WIPs. That was one of the main reasons why it was fun for me to come here. No offense to anyone, but the past few month have been a little stagnant regarding colorful content. How I wish for some pics and wips.

I know the fee will probably not go away, but please allow some pics and wips.

I will never go away from this place, I really love comming here and will always be a supporting member, even if I am banned I will change my IP address and be back the next day:blahblah:
 

PierreRodrigue

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"Regarding posting, I truly miss hobbyist, woodworkers, collectors or anyone else being able to post pictures and WIPs. That was one of the main reasons why it was fun for me to come here. No offense to anyone, but the past few month have been a little stagnant regarding colorful content. How I wish for some pics and wips."

Wips and pictures, yes I do miss this as well.
 

stevenStefano

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I like the idea of Commission but perhaps it would be worth exploring though I can still see issues with it. I agree that I loved the WIPS and I am sad they aren't here any more. I think it is hard to really define advertising and perhaps the definition could be loosened a little. I think a lot of WIPs aren't really advertising personally
 

kalaeb

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:beatinghead:Gah, I really need to get some glasses.:beatinghead: That makes a big difference.
 

Eamon Burke

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That's what I'm saying! If you make custom sayas, and sell them for $150(like a lot of folks do), you make one and you are $25 + cost of wood away from a year of hobbyist fun.

It's two handles.

One cutting board.

1/2-1/5 of a knife.
 

sachem allison

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Really???? :angry1: I kid you not, all this time I thought it was $475.00
didn't you read my long diatribe about it only being $3 a week? I even offered to pick Darkhoek's tab and I think Pierre offered to pick up someones and tk too.:lol2:
 

kalaeb

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nope, missed it, but I am more than wlling to admit I messed up. Sorry guys!
 

Eamon Burke

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Hey, nobody's upset with you, we're just happy you can join us in being bewildered by "those guys" that just don't get it...whoever the heck they are! :scratchhead:
 

Bryan G.

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Dave,

I'll throw 2cents in.

As far as the Vendors go, my understanding is you have a fee (more than the hobbyist) and with it they get their own sub-forum and can sell how much they please and post photos and whatever else. If this is correct I really don't see any flaw here. You can't ever receive before giving. It's a matter of how much someone thinks the forum is worth in terms of marketing their product, but more importantly he or she themselves. Ultimately it is who and what you ARE that is going to make you money regardless of what you DO. Money is just a means, and any focused only on means will always struggle to have it. And that's a lesson they have to learn on their own. It's obvious to any wise man or woman that the products here are created by the Vendors who first and foremost care about who they ARE and what they DO is superior as a direct EFFECT of the aforementioned. LIKE attracts LIKE. So we naturally have people drawn here bringing demand for these products from these vendors. It's a scientific fact that if this level of superior/positive thinking from current vendors continues and grows that so too will the demand grow for their products which is only just an extension of them.

My point is, if someone is too ignorant to understand this or perhaps emotional thinking with strictly emotions instead of intellect and feeling, then it is their loss because the vendors fee is completely warranted if you grasp and have insight to my above statement. Do not feel wrong or ill as they will either come to their senses and come back or they will struggle through life wherever they may go until they learn this lesson.

Now as for the Hobbyists. $175 is a small fee, but I do find this one not as clear cut as many are just starting up their passion at this stage. I am not clear on the picture/posting situation. But how can someone grow without posting pictures of their work? How can they get their name and person out if they do not interact? Perhaps they are questioning if anyone even enjoys their work and are having a hard time envisioning being able to do it, thus they would question paying a fee if they are unsure themselves if anyone would want to buy. So here I would suggestion giving some leniency. Perhaps having a separate forum for "up & comers" photo's only. Perhaps allowing some pass-arounds as well so people can grow and come to a clear vision if they want to pursue this or not. And leave the "Hobbyist" forum as is or with a commission fee as mentioned. Perhaps let the Hobbyists or potential Hobbyist vote on that. I personally think the commission may be the more fair way to go ... as I can see the type of person that would want to sell 10 handles a year and sell one. Initially gun ho about the 175$ fee to sell handles on his/her down time and afford he/she to make them, only to be out and discouraged all together from making them. Where if they knew they only payed a commission they would be more inclined to do more. And the more they do, the more their confidence builds, the more they sell ... the more they sell the natural progression would be to become a vendor. I honestly haven't looked at all the forums and sub-forums so maybe you have something like this in play already with the photos.

I do know limiting photos of peoples work is a negative and not a positive because you are obstructing personal growth. You are obstructing the growth of the person questioning if their work is good enough ... and in turn you can be obstructing future growth of others who may see that work and be inspired to create such work themselves. Which is obstructing the growth of the community as a whole if you look for even a second at the effects. If someone is posting pictures asking for sales when they are not a vendor or have not payed commissions (if that were the hobbyists stipulations) then a moderator would contact them that their photo has been moved to the proper forum and their post edited and they should not offer their work for sale without the proper channels being followed first. And failure to follow these channels once again will result in a banning, which we as a community, not just staff, DO NOT WANT to see happen. That is a very fair way to do it and benefits the whole.

If someone wants to post pictures of work and PM people behind those pics trying to sell them or even entertain a PM from someone asking to buy, do you not think that they will reap what they sow? You do not stop people from stealing by locking your doors, putting signs up, setting up an alarm, threatening them ... none of these are correct ways to stop this. The correct way is to create an environment and community of thought that would not even entertain any such negativity. Because if people want to steal they are going to steal regardless of material/superficial attempts to stop it. But if everyone as a whole is firm in the ideal which is positive and against it, those people who would dare to question it certainly will weed themselves out quickly without haste and absolutely find themselves without friends of sound judgement and thought.

Food for thought I hope this applies to your inquiry because it is late and Son's spinning chair got me kinda dizzy, so I apologize if I got off base here!

Kind Regards

Bryan
 

WillC

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There is one hobby seller signed up at least. I don't really get why more people have not signed up, but then I've got used to factoring in cost of sales. Even if your a hobby maker as a craftsman selling your work a couple of times a year at free events in town halls or whatever, that still costs much more in time, preparation, materials for your stall plus you have to sit there all day, doing two free events a year would cost you more than $175 in bits and bobs, fuel etc and you might only sell 2 items. . I really miss the buzz and shared ideas of hobby makers and would like to see it bursting with life. Maybe a percentage on sales with a cap on how many $ per month would be fairer though for those making smaller items or those worried they may only get time to finish one or two things.
Very nicely put Bryan, a very warm attitude.:)
 

ajhuff

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I like the commission idea. There's a big difference in the hobbyist fee impact if you sell one item per year versus 12 items per year.

BUT.

One thing I find annoying is that all of the posts regarding hobbyists seem to focus on sales, which mean a hobbyist is just viewed as a subgroup of vendors. It is assuming there is a profit motive in the sale. I'm going to bet most hobbyists are more interested in just recouping their material costs so they can start another project. Moreover, I would think that from a hobbyist's interest the greater desire is to be able to post WIP, have discussions, ask questions and interact with other hobbyists, pros and users to be able to improve their hobby. There may never be a sale. While that interaction has value, and I'm not saying it should be free, I have problems with the mentality hobby SALES make the current fee not so exorbitant. I think this attitude of recoupment is wrong.

I'm not a hobbyist or a vendor so I have no real dog in this fight but I think a smaller subscription fee + a commission on sales makes more sense for a hobbyist designation.

-AJ
 

Marko Tsourkan

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From a former hobbyist.

As Matt pointed out, to improve, one has to offer work for sale, as there is a different level of expectation (on oneself) when work is commissioned for pay. Given the failure rate at this point, one probably makes no money (or makes little), but this is an investment into skills and a learning experience and should be treated as such.

$180 fee is very reasonable and should be affordable. To put things in perspective, I was paying three times that on KF for hobbyist privilege and my output wasn't that different than of hobbyists' on KKF.

I think if people don't embrace the idea and the cost, it is more because of a principle (and possibly free-riding), than of reasoning, and no concession might change that.


M
 

Bryan G.

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Thank you Will :) ... awesome work by the way my friend. Keep up your progress.

I think most of us (hobbyist and outside guys like AJ and I) feel just as the above is stated. When you have like minds creating a community we are all the same in make, the difference is one of degree. The goal is to grow the degree of thinking for the hobbyist and help them advance without worrying so much about compensation if you don't know how much they are going to produce. Make the fee small and simple enough to where it helps them grow. Again natural progression is if they start making big strides in selling their work is to become a vendor/full on knifemaker which we want to encourage. Some of my favorite new makers where hobbyists not too long ago.

I think AJ summed up very well the typical scenario and like I said you have a lot of younger (or older but young to the craft) hobbyist who like Kaleb do it for stress relief and fun and look only to break even to keep doing it. I think 175$ is not a huge fee for a year, yet it might be to someone doubting if they can even produce something in their spare time that someone else would value. We want to build people's confidence, not doubt.

Dave if it wasn't for you donating your time with me via emails I would be very clueless on sharpening and not understand waterstones what-so-ever to the extent I do. If not for the amazing visual work by the hobbyist and makers here and conversation about the products of thought produced here I surely would not be drawn back here. I certainly will make a handle and knife one day, but not to the extent of the full time makers here. But definitely have been inspired, and definitely plan on producing great things myself bringing great means for my end, and when those means come most certainly know who I would like to share them with.

Kind Regards

Bryan
 

Dave Martell

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This is excellent conversation with lots of great points already made.

I want to add in that some of the people coming here are already knifemakers who sell (some part time - some full time) and are crossing over to kitchen knives. They're looking to learn from the community as well as make sales. We have to also consider them in this as well.
 

tk59

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I like the commission idea. There's a big difference in the hobbyist fee impact if you sell one item per year versus 12 items per year.

BUT.

One thing I find annoying is that all of the posts regarding hobbyists seem to focus on sales, which mean a hobbyist is just viewed as a subgroup of vendors. It is assuming there is a profit motive in the sale. I'm going to bet most hobbyists are more interested in just recouping their material costs so they can start another project. Moreover, I would think that from a hobbyist's interest the greater desire is to be able to post WIP, have discussions, ask questions and interact with other hobbyists, pros and users to be able to improve their hobby. There may never be a sale. While that interaction has value, and I'm not saying it should be free, I have problems with the mentality hobby SALES make the current fee not so exorbitant. I think this attitude of recoupment is wrong.

I'm not a hobbyist or a vendor so I have no real dog in this fight but I think a smaller subscription fee + a commission on sales makes more sense for a hobbyist designation.

-AJ
This precisely my view.
 

mhenry

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I like the commission idea. I had a handle for sale back when the forum was free, and it never sold. There is a chance that a hobbyist could pay the fee and never sell anything. So the pay as you play scheme sounds really good.
 

JMJones

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I think it is great that this is being discussed, especially in a more positive manner than in the past.

As a hobbyist I am fine paying a fee for the year or a flat fee per sale or a percentage per sale or whatever when I am actually selling a knife.


My issue is that members who are not actively selling something are still required to pay before posting pics, info, wips ect. If a hobbyist is allowed to post pics, ect, and they receive positive feedback they are going to be more likely to then want to sell something here and shouldn’t mind paying for that privilege. Mandating that someone pay first is putting the cart before the horse and I believe has and will continue to have a negative impact on the community here in two ways. First, members are missing out on some interesting content that could be posted. Second, I feel it is off putting and kind of irritating for the hobbyist or potential hobbyist to feel we are being censored. In my opinion censoring kitchen knife related content on a kitchen knife forum is silly.


I have said it before but I think bladeforums has it right. Anyone is free to post whatever they want for content in the makers/ custom forums. If you want to post something for sale, there is a different sub forum for that and you have to pay for that privilege.


Promotion and Sales, although related, are very different things. The current rules do not take that into account.
 

mc2442

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I think the ideal thing would be able to choose between a commission and an annual flat fee for the hobbiest. This would allow people to choose commission until they have material sales that makes them switch to the (then) lower flat rate. If someone only sells a few a year, a commission would be fine, and allow them to fully participate in everything that was mentioned above.

There are a couple of problems that come with this, setting the commision and policing the activities of others. For a commission, both a flat fee and a commission have weaknesses in that they type and amount of sales are widely varied. If someone sold a bargin basement item for 1/10th the price of a higher end one, how do you set a price per item. And if someone uses higher end materials, is a % commission fair to the purchaser?

As for policing, if everyone obeyed by an honor system, the world would be a wonderful place. There will be a lot of grey area, misunderstandings, and upset people. A lot of people hate the legal and tax systems due to their complexity, but unfortunately there is a need since there will always be those in search of loopholes (my personal feelings is that both systems are a lot more screwed up than that would account for, however).
 

JBroida

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also, its totally possible for people to post a ton of WIPs and whatnot, and never sell an item on the board... that would make the commission thing a bit tricky.
 

ajhuff

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Do all hobbyists sell their work? JM has a good point about needing to pony up before posting any WIP pics. That would seem like a big deterant. But are there any hobbyists that purely build for the love of the hobby? $175 is a lot of money just to post pictures.

-AJ
 

JMJones

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also, its totally possible for people to post a ton of WIPs and whatnot, and never sell an item on the board... that would make the commission thing a bit tricky.
I dont see that as an issue. If they are posting a ton of wip's they are contributing to the content of the board, that is enough. If it leads to some private sales, so be it. If they want to actually sell stuff on the board, they should have to pay.

This is the only knife related board that I know of that would not let me post a pic of a knife I made or a work in progress thread:dontknow:.
 

tk59

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...If it leads to some private sales, so be it. If they want to actually sell stuff on the board, they should have to pay...
You're saying that if I like something you've done, I can contact you and ask you to make it and you owe nothing to the forum. On the other hand, you wouldn't get that sale if you handn't been on the forum and so you do owe the forum a commission. The real question is, "How does the forum get a piece of that pie without sucking?"
 

JMJones

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You're saying that if I like something you've done, I can contact you and ask you to make it and you owe nothing to the forum. On the other hand, you wouldn't get that sale if you handn't been on the forum and so you do owe the forum a commission. The real question is, "How does the forum get a piece of that pie without sucking?"

I see your point but that is exactly how it works on every other knife related forum that I have viewed on a regular basis. I think that the harder the forum tries to" get a piece of that pie", ie the more rules, fees, censorship, ect the higher the potential for "sucking".

Taking your comment to the next level, if you then show your coworker the knife I made for you and he orders one do I now owe you a commission or even the forum another commission because ultimately the forum introduced you to my work? Eventually a line has to be drawn as to when the forum gets a piece of the pie, I personally think it is when someone is actually selling something on the forum, not just showing/discussing pics, wips ect.

Also as to my quote in a previous post "Promotion and Sales, although related, are very different things. The current rules do not take that into account” If I am posting interesting or informational wips, pics, ect, i am obviously promoting my work/ gaining exposure even if it is already sold or not for sale. However I am also adding value to the forum as a whole by providing something that members may enjoy viewing/ learning about and hopefully making it a more interesting place for more people to congregate. I see that as more of a symbiotic relationship with the forum than something I should have to pay for.
 
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